Rivers Lab Returns April 30th!

Rivers Lab continues online

SYRCL typically hosts Rivers Lab, a monthly scientific report book club, January through June. However, along with many other events, the March Rivers Lab was cancelled. In effort to bring this event back and bring the community together, this April SYRCL will be hosting a virtual Rivers Lab! Instead of meeting in the conference room, we will be meeting online via Zoom, a video conference app.

For those who aren’t familiar, Rivers Lab is a paper reading and discussion group assembled so that we can, as a community of river lovers practice scientific literacy. Our goals are to break down the prestigious walls of academic papers in order to learn more about the ecosystems for which we care. Rivers Lab provides a chance to ask questions, discuss, and enjoy each other’s company.

Participants receive scientific literature ahead of time, and then convene during the lunch hour to discuss the topics and gain insights from the wisdom of the group. From novice to professional, and everywhere in between, attendees have the opportunity to further their knowledge on subjects of mutual interest, and share different perspectives and interpretations around a particular issue.

Let's talk about newts!

This month we will be discussing two related papers: a news article about how climate change is negatively affective newts in Southern California, and a scientific report on which the news article is based.

Since we have also had to cancel our March Newt Walk, this Rivers Lab will be newt-focused and co-led by Mary McDonnell, the AmeriCorps Restoration Coordinator and Shannon Hedge, the AmeriCorps Education and Outreach Coordinator (and resident herp lover).

Rivers Lab is a no pressure environment and a great way to learn more about the ecosystems surrounding us by reading relevant scientific literature. Encourage your friends to sign up – the more diversity of thought, the merrier!

Here’s how Rivers Lab will work this April:

  1. We will meet from 12:00 – 1:30 pm on Thursday, April 30th on the video conference app, Zoom. (Note the changed time!)
    • Zoom invitations will be sent via the Rivers Lab email invitation.

  2. Be prepared by reading the papers beforehand.

  3. Be on time, log in a few minutes early even!

  4. If you are able, please have the following items available:
    • A copy of the paper (hard or online)
    • Paper / pens / laptop / tablet for taking notes
    • Questions, comments, critiques, compliments about the paper
    • Ideas for future topics and discussions
    • A readiness to practice scientific literacy with your community!
Two newts from Southern California, the newt on the left showing 20% reduced body condition.
Image: Gary Bucciarelli/UCLA

AmeriCorps River Restoration Coordinator, Mary McDonnell, our Rivers Lab host this year, has this to say about her experience thus far with the group. “I have had so much fun coordinating Rivers Lab. The people who show up come with an eagerness to learn from each other, great questions, and personal insight. I am very excited to try a virtual Rivers Lab for April and hope we can continue to have our engaging discussions. This is a great opportunity for people who can’t usually make the in-person meetings to participate, so I hope to get some new faces and new minds at the table!”

Want to join the email list and participate in upcoming Rivers Lab? Or have other questions? Please contact Mary McDonnell at mary@yubariver.org.

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